This weekend, my wife and I took our son to the local zoo. He likes the “water park” at the children's zoo, and we like that he likes it. However, before we could visit the children's zoo on this visit, we felt we had to make a quick trip by the penguin enclosure since Catchr had so much fun there last time we visited. Now, I am not sure what is so great about penguins, but I must admit that I, too, have a fascination with these little gentlemen. They are always so proper, dressed in their little tuxedos and waddling to and fro. I think Catchr likes it because he can get right up to the glass and and exchange obscene gestures with these little guys as they swim past, flipping him the bird. And other than an incident that I cover more thoroughly here, we had a great time screaming at the penguins on the other side of the glass, before moving to the children's zoo.
At the children's zoo, my wife usually takes the lead and walks with Catchr through the little “water park”, where he screams with delight at the water rushing past his feet. My wife does a great job keeping her composure while other children (you know, the one's that came straight from the bowels of Hell) kick and splash she and Catchr both. Although the water is only 4-5 inches deep, I am always amazed that she hasn't discretely “dispatched” any of these unruly children (or their caretakers) during our visits. After about 10-20 minutes, Catchr had about as much fun as WE could handle at the “water park” and we went searching for some vittles for our clan.
We found the zoo's main feeding hole and began to order some finger foods to snack on before making our journey home, and this is where the story takes a turn for the annoying.
I have never had a very easy time with idle chit-chat. Unfortunately, when you push around the most gorgeous baby in America, you are bound to have the occasional looky-loo start making googly eyes at your accomplishment. Then the googly eyes start becoming baby talk (which we never use with Catchr), and before you know it, some mental defective is all up in your baby's grill. “And what is your name,” tends to be the favorite question asked. However, Catchr, being only 13 months old, does not have the ability to answer this question, and I, for one, am not so arrogant as to feel this question was directed at me. And so we wait (and I try to figure out where the hell my wife went).
“And what is your name?” Apparently, Ms. Baby-blabber feels that maybe she did not make herself clear enough during round one.
We wait (I know my wife came with me to the zoo).
Eventually after 3-4 minutes of awkward silence, the question is rolled, patted and marked with a “B” before being thrown in my direction. “So how old is he?”
“I'm sorry, what was that?” I like to take control of the situation and make it just as uncomfortable for them as they've made it for me.
“I was asking, How old is he?” This is where the fun begins. Now it is pretty obvious that Catchr is a boy, but sometimes, when I'm feeling particularly annoyed, I pretend to be wholly offended and say, “SHE is 13 months old, thank you.” On this day, though, I opted to confuse the enemy. I just smiled and nodded, “Yes.”
“Mm hmm, thank you, he IS beautiful,” I stated proudly.
“No...I was asking, How old is he?”
“Woodrow, after his great-great grandfather, on my mother's side,” I replied, making it apparent that I was having a very pleasant conversation with no one in particular.
“Oh my, well...you have a nice day,” she offered as she looked for her escape route.
Noting that I had won this battle, I decided to seal the deal, “Ok, I'll see you tomorrow.” This is about the creepiest thing that you can say to a person that you have just met, and have no intention of ever seeing again. It worked marvelously, she evaporated into the crowd and I began to look for my wife, when out of the corner of my eye, I spotted another looky-loo. Not again.